If you look closely at the bottom left of the image attached to this article, you'll see Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton intently watching Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals just a couple of seats down from legendary quarterback Peyton Manning. Although Peyton Manning is not currently with the Denver Broncos in an "official" capacity, he's certainly heavily involved with the team, as much or more than really any former player who isn't employed by the team.
Manning and his family reside in Denver. You can see, his son Marshall is obviously a big sports fan and joined his dad for some courtside seats to one of the most historic games in Denver Nuggets history. As you might expect from someone like Manning, the trip to Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals wasn't just for fun. There was business to be done as well. He jumped on Stephen A. Smith's NBA in Stephen A.'s World on YouTube TV and had a quick chat about the Denver Broncos.
Manning, among other things, stated that he believes new head coach Sean Payton is going to get the best out of quarterback Russell Wilson.
Manning also declared that "Russell feels rejuvenated as well," and that's obviously good to hear. Last year around this time, the Broncos were posting pictures of Manning watching some film with Russell Wilson, presumably in Russ' own office. Things are being run differently now in Denver than they were a year ago. Peyton Manning was and is The Sheriff, and has a level of gravitas about him that really allowed him certain privileges that aren't given to many quarterbacks league-wide.
Manning was essentially his own offensive coordinator for much of his NFL career and it's not out of the realm of possibility to think that perhaps Russell Wilson wanted to do/be something like that in Denver as well. Especially considering the context of so much strife and negative headlines around the offensive system in Seattle and how much Russ had to do with that, or how much he wanted input in selecting the offensive coordinator.
I think we saw last year when Russ tried to do things his own way, it didn't work out. And now Sean Payton is in town to "get the best" out of Russ. Obviously, Peyton Manning believes that will end up happening. Or maybe he's just optimistic. Or maybe a little bit of both.
Whatever the case, it's always exciting to hear The Sheriff talk about the Denver Broncos. It would be fantastic to have Manning's perspective on what went on last year, not just in terms of "what went wrong" with Russell Wilson, but perhaps his take on the whole situation from the office to everything else. Like I said before, Manning had the gravitas to do things like that and still be a catalyst for having a strong locker room culture. Winning had a lot to do with that. You have to respect the way Manning was able to lead a team not just on the field at QB but by making everyone else around him better.
Hopefully, he's continued to be a valuable voice for Russell Wilson.